WASHINGTON—The chief executive officers of Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc., which owns Google, will appear before a House panel Thursday for the first time since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, facing questions about social media’s role in fomenting the discord and their subsequent decisions to suspend or ban former President Donald Trump.
The three companies have been “distributors for years of election disinformation that appeared to be intended either to improperly influence or undermine the outcomes of free and fair elections,” said a statement put out in advance of the hearing by Frank Pallone Jr. (D., N.J.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee.
His Republican counterpart, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), said through a spokesman that the GOP wants to ask the CEOs about “how they have abused their power to censor and control political speech they disagree with.”
The hearing, set for noon Eastern time, is a repeat performance for the executives. It will be Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s fourth appearance before Congress since last July, and the third for both Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai.
Those previous appearances exposed bipartisan unease about the companies’ power over American discourse, but also disagreement among lawmakers about how to address it.